20-year-old who learned machine design from YouTube wins an all-panel deal on Shark Tank India

20-year-old who learned machine design from YouTube wins an all-panel deal on Shark Tank India
  • Mahantam is an early-stage startup producing automatic tea glass washing machines that can wash 15 glasses in 30 seconds.
  • Its co-founder, 20-year-old Dhaval, developed the machine by learning machine design on YouTube.
  • Brothers Dhaval and Jayesh walked away with the season’s second all-shark deal - ₹30 lakh for 20% equity.
From motorised wheelchairs to a portable pregnancy monitoring device, season 2 of Shark Tank India has seen some truly innovative products with inspiring stories of creation. The latest company to appear on the show, Mahantam, which makes an automatic tea glass-washing machine for roadside tea stalls.

Founded by brothers Dhaval Prakashbhai Nai, 20 and Jayesh Prakashbhai Nai, 22, Mahantam is an early-age startup that has sold 3 machines so far - but already received inquiries from multiple vendors. And the story of how Dhaval learned machine design from YouTube and created the first machine left all the sharks impressed.

“After seeing your story, in every village, a child will say, I too want to invent and start a booming business,” said Anupam Mittal, founder of Shaadi.com.

The prototype(s) for success

Dhaval and Jayesh hail from a small village, Banaskantha, in Gujarat. Jayesh was always interested in starting a business. Meanwhile, Dhaval was struck with the idea to build a machine for washing tea glasses used by roadside tea stalls while pursuing his diploma.


Dhaval was a regular customer at his college’s nearby tea stall - until the day he saw a goat drink water from the same tub that was being used to clean the glasses.

“One day I noticed the goat raised by the uncle (tea stall vendor) drink water from the same tub that had the glasses. I told uncle the goat was drinking water - he said to ignore it. I stopped drinking tea there,” shared Dhaval.

Not only did he stop drinking tea from that stall, he also decided to bring a change. Stuck at home due to the Covid lockdown, he started learning machine design on YouTube and in 6 months, understood its theoretical aspect.

Once the lockdown lifted, he worked at a hardware shop for free and only asked to be allowed to tinker with available scrap. That’s how he made his first prototype - which failed. Undeterred, Dhaval continued to improve his design and made four different prototypes - all of which failed. That’s also when the hardware store owner asked him to discontinue his operations.

With no money or available material, Dhaval reached out to his college professor for guidance. He ended up receiving ₹10,000 from his professor to work on the design. Ultimately, he was able to create a machine that was functional - but not fit for the market. However, when one of his friends uploaded a video of the machine on YouTube, he started receiving interest and inquiries - and he gave away the first machine for free. Facing money constraints, Dhaval presented his prototype to other professors and collected ₹1 lakh to work further on the product.

“From that ₹1 lakh we made five machines, and because I wanted to sell these, my brother joined me. We’ve already sold three machines - one in Karnataka, one in Tamil Nadu, and one in Maharashtra,” shared Dhaval.

Later, Dhaval received a grant from DreamDeal.com - an initiative started by Mittal to encourage budding entrepreneurs. On DreamDeal.com people had to make a short Instagram reel and pitch their business ideas. Selected winners would receive a grant of up to ₹1 lakh for no equity.

“Last year, I felt people had to work hard to even reach Shark Tank India. I thought about my own journey. All of us got a chance. There are so many people who have ideas but face only hurdles. If you can’t even make a business plan, how will you reach a VC (venture capitalist), raise money, or come on Shark Tank? So, I floated DreamDeal.com,” shared Mittal.

Using the grant money, Dhaval upgraded the design and that was the final version presented on the show. It’s sold for ₹28,000 per unit to tea vendors. The machine can wash 15 tea glasses in just 30 seconds using high-pressure water. It has a capacity of 38 litres of water - which can help wash 250 glasses, claimed the founders.

The size of the machine can also be adjusted to account for smaller tea stalls or compact areas, shared Dhaval on the show.


The season’s second all-shark deal

Dhaval’s determination and dedication floored the judges. But they’re also investors - and thus started a round of questions. From the startup’s vision and usage of funds invested to the target market, Dhaval had an answer for most, if not all of the sharks’ questions.

“Our target: time and hygiene management and also to show off a little. The target market is vendors who already have a setup to heat tea, provision for lighting a bulb, etc,” said Dhaval.

Consequently, Mittal made an offer of ₹30 lakh for a 20% equity stake, valuing the company at ₹1.5 crore, while adding that he was impressed with the founder’s “innocence and diligence.”

Aman Gupta, the co-founder of boAt, shared that he would like to join Mittal’s offer. Soon after, the entire panel—Vineeta Singh (co-founder, Sugar Cosmetics), Namita Thapar (executive director, Emcure Pharmaceuticals), and Peyush Bansal (co-founder, Lenskart)—joined Mittal.

“With Anupam’s support, you reached here. With our support, there’s no limit to which your business can grow,” claimed Gupta.

This is the season’s second all-shark offer - which the founders accepted.

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